Advertising
Advertising

25 Amazing Places in Eastern Europe You Have To Visit

25 Amazing Places in Eastern Europe You Have To Visit

A growing number of exotic destination seeking travelers are stealing away to Eastern Europe. Packed with all of the Allure of the UK, France or Italy Eastern Europe arguably offers cities rich in culture and medieval architecture with just as much grandeur as Western European destinations. Tourism is definitely starting to build in this corner of the world. Here are 25 amazing places you should visit in Eastern Europe.

1. Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest Eastern Europe
    Photo via Flickr

    Bucharest, the capital of Romania is a dynamic modern city with a wildly sensational history. Nicknamed “little Paris” in the early 1900’s Bucharest really plays the part with hip cafes, impressive tree lined boulevards and dramatic modern and historic architecture. Home to many attractions, the most remarkable landmark in this vibrant city is the monstrous Parliament Palace. Being equally enormous and ostentatious, it is a mind-blowing architectural feat trumped only in size by the Pentagon.

    Where there are many examples of Bucharest’s cultural and architectural splendor the highlights include the Romanian Athenaeum, an elaborately domed circular building that is the cities main concert hall, Bucharest University and the National History Museum.

    2. Sibiu, Romania

    Sibiu Eastern Europe
      Photo via Flickr

      Sibiu is a city in Transylvania, Romania that has a cultural magic all its own. It will have you instantly spellbound with its striking medieval charm, breathtaking views of surrounding landscapes and delicious food. It’s historical center was built into two very pedestrian levels filled with most of Sibiu’s historical sites, colorful houses and cobble stone streets.

      An artsy yet traditional vibe exists in the city that appealingly permeates the litany of cafes, festivals and exhibitions that thrive there. Some great things to experience in Sibiu are the Brukenthal Museum, andthe Crama Sibiu Vechi restaurant, a great place to enjoy authentic Romanian fare and the view of the historical center from the top of the Council Tower.

      3. Bratislava, Slovakia

      12890357485_9841fcea61_z
        Photo via Flickr

        The truly charming city of Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. Its tiny old town is packed with medieval grandeur, all over looked by the cities majestic hilltop Castle. The narrow streets are lined with restaurants and bars beckoning for you to eat, drink and appreciate the culture.

        Be sure to check out the Bratislava Castle and the Slavin Memorial for the best city views. Visit at Christmas and check out the traditional Market on the main square in the center of the city. It offers genuine local holiday specialties including delicious mulled wine that shouldn’t be missed.

        Advertising

        4. Nida, Lithuania

        Nida Eastern Europe
          Photo via Flickr

          Exquisite Nida is the primary settlement on Lithuania’s side of the Curonian Spit. This spit is a curved sand dune in between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by Russia and Lithuania. Nida is the tourist destination on spit. The relics of yesteryear tell a story of a bygone fishing village. Colorful wooden cottages and bright boats in the harbor add to natural beauty that dominates here.

          White sand beaches are a short hike through pine forest from Nida. Parnidis Dune, the massive and most impressive dune is just South of the village. It has steps up to its lofty summit where you can enjoy sweeping views of pristine, rippling dunes. Eat at Nidos Seklycia and take a tour to explore Curonian National Park. Both of these experiences will show you everything that draws visitors to this precious place.

          5. Skopje, Macedonia

          Skopje Eastern Europe
            Photo via Flickr

            Skopje is amid Europe’s most diverse and compelling capital cities. It is an eclectic blend of Christian and Islamic cultures. This blend has given birth to a spirited and colorful society. A social vibe pervades the city, locals play chess in the parks and the city comes alive at night as people flock to cafes and bars to enjoy music and conversation. Visit the Carsija neibourhood to enjoy Skopje’s best historic structures and museums. Complete with a Triumphal Arch, the Plostad Makedonija Square is dedicated to national heroes.

            6. Dubrovnik, Croatia

            Dubrovnik Eastern Europe
              Photo via Flickr

              Dubrovnik, nicknamed the Pearl of the Adriatic, is the shining star of Croatia. With its awe inspiring old town highlighted by the sparkle of the sea, Dubrovnik is arguably one of the most beautiful towns in all of Eastern Europe. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, it is loaded with spectacular architecture, boasting brilliant churches, museums and sculptures. No visit to Dubrovnik would be complete without a walk along the city wall. The view over the city and the Adriatic is breath taking from this vantage point. For a more sweeping view take a cable car from town to the top of nearby Mt, Srd.

              7. Split, Croatia

              Split Eastern Europe
                Photo via Flickr

                Split is the second largest city in Croatia. It lies on the Eastern shores of the Adriatic centering on Diocletian’s Palace, an impressive Roman monument that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Coastal mountains serve as Splits backdrop adding drama to the cities gorgeous cityscape. The palace is the heart of the city, It is a lively maze of streets filled with people, restaurants, bars and shops. A walking tour of the palace is the best way to see all of the highlights. Split has a flourishing beach scene in the summer. Visit the popular Bacvice Beach to enjoy the sea and games galore.

                8. Mljet Island, Croatia

                Mljet Island Eastern Europe
                  Photo via Flickr

                  Considered one of the most beautiful Croatian Islands, Mljet is by far the greenest. The island, covered mostly in dense Mediterranean forest, sprinkled with vineyards, farms and tiny villages is the epitome of tranquility. The north half is Mljet National Park. With its pristine salt-water lakes and staggering density of vegetation, it is truly an unspoiled oasis. Visit Polace to check out the impressive Roman Palace that still remains dating from the first to the fifth century. Eat by the sea at Konoba Ankora, the best restaurants in Polace.

                  9. Orheiul Vechi, Moldova

                  Moldova Eastern Europe
                    Photo via Flickr

                    Moldova’s most extraordinary and scenic vista is the Oreil Vechi Monastery. It is a cave monastery sculpted into an imposing limestone cliff making it arguably Moldova’s most haunting place. Supporting attractions include an ethnographic museum in nearby Butuncei, newly opened caves just across the valley and chilling views from the monasteries headquarters.

                    Advertising

                    10. Belgrade, Serbia

                    Kalemegdan Belgrade Eastern Europe
                      Photo via Flickr

                      Belgrade is the red hot, happening capital of Serbia. Its passionate resurgence toward a better future has resulted in a chaotic mix of nouveau masterpieces and old world relics.The Kalemegden Citadel is an excellent example of this. The formidable and impressive citadel has a bloody history that is still recognizable today despite the cheerful cafes and funfairs that inhabit it. To experience more of Belgrade’s intrigue take an underground tour and explore more of the cities tumultuous past.

                      11. Ljubljana, Slovenia

                      Ljublijana Eastern Europe
                        Photo via Flickr

                        The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana is a culturally rich city filled with some of the best museums, restaurants and hotels in the country. The centerpiece of this arguably beautiful city is Presernov Trg, a lovely square that is the city’s favorite place to meet. Car traffic is restricted in this area making the banks of the Ljubljana River, which runs right through the center, free for a stroll or a bike ride. Cafes set up terraces along the river creating an endless street party kind of vibe. To appreciate the baroque beauty of the city visit the Ljubljana Castle and the National and University Library. Both are examples of stunning architecture.

                        12. Warsaw, Poland

                        medium_4198069910
                          Photo via Flickr

                          Warsaw is a city of complex character and gritty appeal. The capital was obliterated in WWII and has fought tirelessly to rebuild and replace what was lost ever since. Today the city hums with electric energy and fierce optimism. That remarkable tenacity extends to the city’s edgy art openings and booming club and music industries.

                          To experience some of the past in Warsaw tour the Old Town, filled with the loveliest historical buildings in the city or visit the epic Warsaw Rising Museum. For a taste of the present check out Warszawa Powisle Station Bar. Described as a kiosk of culture this hip spot is a cultural institution featuring an eclectic variety of food, drink and great music among other things.

                          13. Krakow, Poland

                          Krakow Eastern Europe
                            Photo via Flickr

                            Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland. Legend says it was founded on a conquest of a dragon. A former Royal capital, Krakow is steeped in a long and dramatic history. The Historic Center of Krakow is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Boasting Europe’s largest market square, the Old Town is comprised of historic homes, palaces and spectacular churches. A walking tour of this area is a great way to see and learn about the area. The best of Krakow includes Wawel Royal Castle and the stone Adalbert Church. The new Schindler’s Museum tells an emotional story about the Nazi occupation in Krakow. It is located in the former factory of Oscar Schindler and is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

                            14. Moscow, Russia

                            Red Square Eastern Europe
                              Photo via Flickr

                              The city of Moscow, the center of Soviet mystique, is a stunning representation of Russia of yesterday and Russia of today. A truly inspiring city, Moscow is home to important Museum of Russian art and some of the best performing arts in the world. To appreciate the best of Moscow you must visit the Kremlin and Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral is the true icon of Russia and the Tretyakov Museum holds the world’s most important collection of Russian art. The world renowned Gorky Park and Bolshoi Theater are two more reasons to visit the most majestic city in Eastern Europe.

                              15. Riga, Latvia

                              5774652953_7c8f1e74bd_z
                                Photo via Flickr

                                Riga, the capital of Latvia is the cosmopolitan cornerstone of the Baltic. It has the biggest and most magnificent showing of Art Nouveau architecture in all of Europe. The Old Town is like something straight out of a fairy tale complete with gingerbread trim houses and nightmarish gargoyles. Highlights in Riga are the very old and equally huge Central Market, The Riga Art Nouveau Center to explain the imagination that lies beyond the stunning facades, and the imposing Riga Castle.

                                Advertising

                                16. Sofia, Bulgaria

                                medium_15326483440

                                  Sophia is the capital of Bulgaria. Distinguished by its special combination of European and Communist style architecture Sophia is home to many ornate Orthodox churches and Soviet looking stone civic buildings. The city boasts vast manicured parks and with such closes proximity to mighty Mt. Vitosh for skiing or a hike, it is easy to enjoy a break from the busy city streets. Some of the best things to see and experience in Sophia are The Nevski Church, the most beautiful park in Sophia, Park Borisova Gradina and Manastirska Manernitsa restaurant to sample delicious Bulgarian cuisine

                                  17. Tallinn, Estonia

                                  Tallinn Eastern Europe
                                    Photo via Flickr

                                    Tallinn’s two-tiered historic center is one of Europe’s most bewitching walled cities. Right out of a fairy tale with its cobbled streets and medieval architecture historic Tallinn is astonishingly well preserved. Visit the oldest Gothic town hall in North Eastern Europe, and Tallinn’s chief landmark, the Oleviste Church. The best view of Old Town is from this church’s observation deck. Check out the Gloria Wine Cellar to add to the fairy tale allure. With its flickering candles and subterranean nooks and crannies this place is way more than a wine store.

                                    18. Vilnius, Lithuania

                                    Vilnius Eastern Europe
                                      Photo via Flickr

                                      Vilnius is the beguiling Baroque beauty of Lithuania. A chaotic mix of Baroque and Gothic architecture, Vilnius is both strange and stunning at the same time. The Gate of Dawn, the cities resounding landmark is a testament to the city forging a new identity. In Vilnius, the past and present combine to offer you worldly cuisine, lively nightlife and warmth so welcoming it will captivate you. Take a walking tour of historic Vilnius to see all of the highlights. Vilnius, steeped in a tumultuous history, has endured much tragedy; visit the Museum of Genocide to appreciate the marvel that Vilnius is today.

                                      19. Kotor, Montenegro

                                      Kotor Eastern Europe
                                        Photo via Flickr

                                        Kotor Bay boasts the deepest bay depths (bordering on fjord proportions) in the Mediterranean Sea. The surrounding landscape includes staggeringly steep mountains that plunge right to the water’s edge. The scene is truly spectacular. Adventure and intrigue pervade old Kotor. The old city is a maze built for protection that is so effective, even locals get lost navigating the narrow streets. Take a city tour to get your bearings and see all of the beauty that is Kotor. Highlights include St.Tryphones Cathedral and Konoba Catovic Mlini restaurant.

                                        20. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina

                                        Sarajevo Eastern Europe
                                          Photo via Flickr

                                          Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Sarajevo has transformed from the ruin in the 1990 conflicts to become one of Eastern Europe’s sparkling jewels. Rich in cultural and religious diversity both influences bolster Sarajevo’s appeal. To appreciate Sarajevo’s culture visit Biban and enjoy epic city views and delicious local specialties. Not to be missed, The Tunnel Museum offers a look back on the hope and horrors that the hand dug tunnel inspired during the conflict

                                          21. Prague, Czech Republic

                                          medium_11920245696

                                            Prague is a vast labyrinth of cobble stone streets, historic architecture and secret courtyards that ignites the wanderlust in everyone who visits this magical city. The city’s skyline is spectacular, boasting almost a thousand spires, domes and towers. With magnificent parks and gardens, a cosmopolitan café culture and excellent theaters and museums there is about as many reasons to make Prague your next vacation destination. Some of the best places to visit in Prague are The Prague Castle, Veletrzni Palac Museum and the Letna Beer Garden. With so much to see and do in this great city taking a tour will help you hit all of the highlights.

                                            22. Olomouc, Czech Republic

                                            Olomouc Eastern Europe
                                              Photo via Flickr

                                              Olomouc is the undiscovered gem of the Czech Republic. Legend has it the city was founded by Julius Cesar and the Roman influence is prolific in its culture and historic architecture. Olomouc quietly combines rich historical beauty with youthful verve to create an exciting destination that rivals Prague for allure but undoubtedly wins top prize for best value. Some of the best things to see and experience in Olomouc are Horni Namesti, Olomouc’s main square boasts two of the cities six ornate Baroque fountains, Premysl Palace and the Archdiocesan Museum.

                                              Advertising

                                              23. Berat, Albania

                                              medium_15202350345

                                                Berat, “The city of a thousand windows”, is one of Albania’s most beautiful highlights. Ottoman houses stack like stairs up Mt. Tomorri to the castle. The unique mountain town exudes a friendly, laid-back vibe. Nowhere is this more evident than the town’s sunset stroll. Every night, before sunset, hundreds of locals take to the main street to walk and talk or grab a drink at a cafe. Visit the Kalasa neighborhood, beyond the castle walls. The views from the castle are the best. To learn more about art and culture in the area visit Onufri Museum or take an expert guided tour of the city.

                                                24. Ionian Coast, Albania

                                                medium_3837303435

                                                  Along the Ionian Coast, rugged mountains plunge into the clear blue sea. This stretch of coast in Albania is truly spectacular. Many historic sites exist in towns and cities in this area. The ancient ruins of Butrint and the Castle of Lekuresit are two of the highlights in this area. Visit Vlora to enjoy historic buildings and museums. If you long for the beach hold out for smaller villages further south. Outdoor adventures abound in this breath taking setting. Take a sea kayaking tour to appreciate the grandeur of this coastline.

                                                  25. Budapest, Hungary

                                                  Budapest Eastern Europe
                                                    Photo via Flickr

                                                    Beautiful Budapest. Divided by the long, meandering Danube River it is an alluring tale of two distinctly different cities. Buda on the west bank is hills and historical sites. Pest on the East bank is flat plains pulsating with modern cafes and clubs.The list of things to see in Budapest is long. Highlights are The Great Synagogue, Memento Park and The Royal Palace. Take a night river cruise to appreciate the impressive Parliament Building and the Szechenyi Chain Bridge. Both are breathtaking lit at night.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Miroslav Petrasco via hdrshooter.com

                                                    More by this author

                                                    25 Amazing Places in Eastern Europe You Have To Visit What You’re Missing When You Let Fear Dictate Your Travel Plans How to Travel Longer Cheaper 11 Amazing Countries Anyone Can Travel To On A College Budget Where On Earth Can You Drink Tap Water?

                                                    Trending in Leisure

                                                    1Bonding With The Boys! 29 Memorable Guy Trip Ideas 26 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself 318 Things You Need To Know Before You Get Your First Tattoo 4271 Best Answers on Quora You Might Have Missed Last Year 520 Fascinating Webcams You Can Watch Online Right Now

                                                    Read Next

                                                    Advertising
                                                    Advertising

                                                    12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

                                                    12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

                                                    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                                                    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                                                    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                                                    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

                                                    1. Nuts

                                                    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                                                    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                                                    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                                                    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

                                                    Advertising

                                                    2. Blueberries

                                                    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                                                    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                                                    3. Tomatoes

                                                    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                                                    4. Broccoli

                                                    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                                                    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                                                    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                                                    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                                                    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                                                    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

                                                    Advertising

                                                    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                                                    6. Soy

                                                    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                                                    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                                                    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                                                    7. Dark chocolate

                                                    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                                                    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

                                                    15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                                                    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                                                    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

                                                    Advertising

                                                    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

                                                    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                                                    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                                                    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                                                    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                                                    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                                                    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                                                    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                                                    10. Gingko biloba

                                                    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

                                                    Advertising

                                                    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

                                                    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                                                    11. Green and black tea

                                                    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                                                    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                                                    Find out more about green tea here:

                                                    11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                                                    12. Sage and Rosemary

                                                    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                                                    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                                                    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                                                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                                    Reference

                                                    Read Next